People who feel stressed from being highly sensitive are called a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). HSP is considered more of a personality trait rather than something to fix. It’s essential to know how to deal with it, or it could develop into depression and other mental illnesses.
Some of the characteristics of an HSP are:
- Recognizes details more than others, which tires them out
- Excessively nervous about environmental changes
- Others compliment them as “rich with emotion”
- The Psychological Characteristics of an HSP
- The Traits of an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)
- 5 Ways to Live with HSP Traits
- Deal With HSP Traits at Your Own Pace
The Psychological Characteristics of an HSP
How many of the following points apply to you?
- I overthink over the small things
- I feel easily emotionally connected to characters in movies or stories
- I’m surprised by big sounds more than average
- I need space if there are too many people around me
- I tend to rush through when I’m given too many tasks at once
- My heart rushes when I see people expressing anger onto others
- I haven’t felt better in a while
The more points that apply to you, the higher the chance you have HSP traits. If you have a tendency to take a long time to think or are emotionally rich, those are big traits of an HSP.
The Traits of an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)
If you have HSP traits, high sensitivity can make you susceptible to mental pain. There are many traits if we go into detail, but here, we will introduce 3 traits that are the most common.
1. Easily Hurt
Some people can stay optimistic after failure at school, sports, or work, but there are also many that keep dragging their failures with them. People with HSP traits tend to fall into the latter type where they feel easily hurt.
An HSP’s sensitive thinking puts them in a headspace where they keep internalizing and blaming themselves rather than expressing their negative feelings outwards. The lack of confidence leads to pessimism and difficulty in communication, which then accumulates more mental instability.
2. Easily Tired
People with HSP traits tend to imagine a lot from very little information because they are sensitive. Their awareness in constant small details wears them down mentally. Additionally, because they are so sensitive to their surroundings, they are easily emotionally impacted by others. When they are around negative people, they tend to turn negative too.
3. Empathetic Tendencies
An HSP is extremely empathetic. They empathize through conversations with their close ones and tend to cater their opinion to others. They also strongly relate to the emotions of characters in movies and books.
5 Ways to Live with HSP Traits
First and foremost, we need to understand that HSP is not a mental illness. It’s just a unique trait of being richer in emotions, so there’s no need to feel inferior about it.
With that in mind, we introduce the 5 methods to live with HSP traits. The common thread in these methods is to create a relaxed environment.
Method 1 : Read
Reading a book allows us to step away from the stressful reality to immerse ourselves in another world. In fact, a university study shows that reading curbs extreme emotional ups and downs. Fiction novels are great, but non-fiction self-help books can also educate how to better deal with HSP-related stress.
It can be difficult to allocate time for reading if you have a busy schedule but try to dedicate at least 30 minutes a day for reading. This can be while you take public transportation, wait for an appointment, or right before bed.
Method 2: Listen to Music
Similar to reading, listening to music has a relaxing effect.
For a person with HSP traits, mental control in gaining calmness is key to reduce stress. Mindfulness meditation is helpful for this. It’s a method where you close your eyes, relax, and meditate while you pay attention to your breath. Music is said to be helpful in assisting mindfulness practices.
The music can be anything relaxing. If you’re not sure of where to start, we recommend searching a playlist using the keywords; healing music, jazz, or nature sounds. You’ll surely find something calming within those categories.
Method 3: Get Enough Sleep
How many hours of sleep do you get per day?
Some data results suggest that the average sleep hours are about 7 hours 40 minutes if you are above 10 years old. Adults require significant amounts of time with work and parental responsibilities, so it won’t be surprising if the average sleep hours turn out to be less than 7 hours.
A university study indicates that if a person continued 2 weeks with less than 7 hours of sleep, their brain function abilities decrease as if they had pulled an all-nighter for 1-2 days. We can assume from this that lack of sleep not only negatively influences our body, but the brain, and mental as well.
For those who do not have the capacity to increase their sleeping hours, we recommend just waking up at the same hour every day. Excessive sleeping on days off messes with our internal clock, which then messes with our overall circadian rhythm. If you’re the type that tends to excessively sleep on days off, start by keeping a 7-hour sleep schedule every day. This will help relieve stress symptoms from HSP traits.
Method 4: Practice Positive Thinking
The tendency to overthink pushes people into believing negative ideas that they are the bad ones or of the fear of possible criticism.
To overcome this, we must nurture positive thinking. A good way to do this is by trying a method called “The Three Good Things.” You write down 3 positive things about your day in a diary. It’s very simple, give it a try!
Method 5: Consult with Someone
If you feel like your HSP traits are too overwhelming to deal with on your own, you can always seek professional help. There are professionals that specialize in HSP that can help you gain better perspectives and resolutions for your own HSP traits.
For those who are too busy to go consult a professional, we recommend trying counseling services through smartphone apps. SELF MIND is an AI chatbot app that can cater to each user’s needs on the go. 94.2% of the users find the AI’s counseling function helpful so far, and it can surely nudge you in the right direction for your needs.
→ Check SELF MIND in app store
Deal With HSP Traits at Your Own Pace
An HSP tends to feel easily stressed, so finding a way to relax becomes essential. HSP traits are also misunderstood as being negative, but people with these traits are very good at compassionately helping others and observing things in detail. Therefore, it is important that we understand HSP as a unique trait to embrace.
Let’s take it nice and slow. This is an opportunity to face your inner self at your own pace.
HIRANO, M. (2012). Buffer Effects of Resilience on Psychological Sensitivity : The Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology, 60(4), 343–354. https://doi.org/10.5926/jjep.60.343
Minai, H. (2010). The Effects of Morning Reading – Analytics, Discussion, and Explanation. The Japan Association of Lifelong Education, 31, 23–32. https://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/120003103893